Australian-made coach to carry King Charles to coronation

Australian's key role in King's coronation

The King’s coronation is less than a month away, and a carriage made in Australia will be central to the event.

On May 6, the King will journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey for his coronation, following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, last year.

Buckingham Palace announced on Monday (British time) that the carriage that will carry the King to Westminster Abbey will be the Diamond Jubilee State Coach.

It was was created by Jim ‘WJ’ Frecklington, and was first used at the state opening of Parliament on  June 4, 2014. He was given $250,000 to build it under John Howard’s government.

Mr Frecklington, who was born in Peak Hill, NSW, cared for the Queen’s show horses when he worked for the royal household.

Jim Frecklington designer and builder of the new Diamond Jubilee state coach which will be used by Queen Elizabeth II during the State Opening of Parliament on June 4.

Jim Frecklington created the coach as a gift for the Queen. Photo: Getty

The coach was built in his workshop on Sydney’s northern beaches.

Mr Frecklington told the BBC he wanted to make “something nice” for the Queen, who he considered to be one of the “greatest monarchs” and remarked it was “special” to see his creation being used.

He started building it just after the Sydney Olympics in 2000, SBS reported.

It was completed in 2012 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the late Queen’s reign, and has only ever been used to carry the Sovereign and occasionally the consort or visiting head of state.

Blend of old and new

The coach weighs more than three tonnes, is five metres long, and needs six horses to pull it.

The Royal Collection Trust said Mr Frecklington’s coach combined “craftsmanship and modern technology”.

Six hydraulic stabilisers prevent the coach from swaying, the outside is made of aluminium while the interior features wooden panels made from objects donated from 100 sites and organisations from across Britain.

The seat handrails are from the royal yacht Britannia, and the window frames and interior panels include material from Caernarfon Castle; Canterbury Cathedral; the Mary Rose (Henry VIII’s flagship); 10 Downing Street; and the Antarctic bases of Captain Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton,” the Royal Collection Trust states.

“The gilded crown on the top of the coach, carved from oak from HMS Victory, can hold a camera to film journeys.”

A traditional return

On his return to Buckingham Palace, the King will take use Britain’s “grandest” coach. The Gold State Coach is more than 260 years old and has been used at every coronation since William IV.

The late Queen used it for her coronation in 1953, and it was seen most recently for her platinum jubilee pageant in mid-2022.

This coach is bigger than the Diamond Jubilee State Coach. It stretches seven metres and is 3.6 metres high and weighs four tonnes. Eight horses are needed to draw it.

It features magnificent painted panels of Roman gods and goddesses, rich gilded sculptures including three cherubs on the roof representing England, Scotland and Ireland, and four massive triton figures above each wheel,” the Royal Collection Trust states.

Coronation travel plans

On May 6, the coronation procession will travel down the mall, passing through through Admiralty Arch and Trafalgar Square and then down Whitehall and Parliament Street, before arriving at Westminster Abbey for the 11am service.

On the way to Westminster Abbey, the King’s procession will be accompanied by the Sovereign’s escort of the household cavalry.

The procession will take the same route back to Buckingham Palace.

Armed forces from across the Commonwealth and the British Overseas Territories, and all services of Britain’s armed forces will accompany the King and Queen on the way back.

Royal emoji

In a modern coronation twist, the royal family has also unveiled a coronation emoji.

It is based on St Edward’s crown and will show on Twitter whenever users tweet hashtags associated with the event, such as: #Coronation, #CoronationConcert, #TheBigHelpout.

This isn’t the first time an emoji has been rolled out to mark a royal occasion.

An emoji of a corgi wearing a crown was used for the platinum jubilee, a nod to the Queen’s favourite dog breed.

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